Thursday, March 14, 2013
Perhaps it was the suffocating boredom of Reader's Digest that pushed Seabrook into a life of world travel. He was fascinated by occult practices and foreign mysticism, and sought out then-unusual locales to investigate. He wrote accounts of his time spent with the Bedouins and Kurds of Saudi Arabia, the habits of voodoo practitioners of Haiti, his adventures with daredevil pilots, and what must have been an extremely stressful weekend with self-proclaimed evil wizard Aleister Crowley. In adherence to journalistic standards, he claimed to never embellish his stories, but the books were very much like pulp novels in their subject matter.
In addition to these pursuits, Seabrook also dabbled in culinary criticism, submitting perhaps the definitive analysis of the taste and texture of....human flesh. For Seabrook, cannibalism was apparently just another exotic experience to write about. The man had books to sell, after all.
While visiting the tribes of West Africa, Seabrook met up with some cannibals and was disappointed when they were unable to fully articulate the process of cooking and eating people. Determined to find out for himself, Seabrook departed for France and somehow managed to get a large chunk of flesh from a hospital. He proceeded to get a stew going and the results were apparently delicious, with Seabrook comparing human to "fully developed veal."
The decision to become a cannibal may or not have been made under the influence of alcohol. Despite checking himself into a mental institution to deal with his addiction (which he wrote about in his book Asylum) Seabrook's alcoholism lead to the ruination of his marriage to novelist Marjorie Worthington, which in turn lead to his suicide in 1945. Aleister Crowley marked the occasion in his diary, referring to the Seabrook as a "swine-dog."
An indecent epitaph, even for a cannibal.
But don't take my word for it!
-You can read about it in a book!